By Shawn Byrne

Sun Editor

The initial phase of a master planned community on Vulture Mine Road was unanimously approved by Town of Wickenburg Planning and Zoning Advisory Commission during its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, Feb. 6.

Phase 1(A) of The Trails at Saddleback Ranch consists of 36 condominiums and gateway features into the future community. In addition to multi-family housing, the project is expected to include a total of 103 single family homes with medium to large floor plans that will have one to three bedrooms.

This early phase has gone through a technical review that included utility infrastructure and input from Wickenburg fire and police departments, APS and Southwest Gas. This is the first condominium complex project to come to Wickenburg since Northridge Villas just north of Wickenburg Community Hospital was developed.

“We tried to approach it as if we were going to live here,” Larry Stuart of Caliber said to the commission. “This is all about families.”

In answering an inquiry from Commissioner Linda Stevens, Stuart said the condominiums and smaller homes would start at about $180,000 to $195,000. He said within the development for middle-income households there will be equestrian trails.

“They’re hoping to keep home prices down,” he said. “I don’t think they have one priced above $300,000 yet.”

Town Community Services and Neighborhood Services Director Steve Boyle told the commission the project’s gateway features will be similar to the look at Wickenburg Ranch. There will be a sheltered unit that will conform to fire and delivery access to make certain all vehicles can pass underneath as they make their way in and out of the property.

When Wickenburg Ranch was built, its overhang kept getting hit. The developers were forced to redesign the entrance and exit there, which is something Boyle hopes to keep from happening at The Trails at Saddleback Ranch.

“We just want to make sure it’s done right the first time, so they don’t have to come back a second time to fix it,” he said.

The project is also going to be flush with landscaping. There are about 1,800 bushes and 293 trees planned that will surround the community.

“If we were going to live there, we would want a lot of landscaping,” Stuart said. “We didn’t necessarily want covered parking because it’s not very attractive. If we can do it with trees and shrubs, we would rather have that.”

Lighting for the project is going to meet Western Sky regulations, and ensuring adequate drainage that flows appropriately is a major goal of the project.

“I appreciate what the developers have done so far,” said Bill Cowles, commission chairperson. “They have tried to go beyond or at least as far as they said with the landscaping on the frontage, rocks, and the beams. I love things like that, going with our town’s western-style development. I appreciate seeing that.”

Commissioner Michael Hershkowitz made the motion to approve the submittal for development/design review for Phase 1 of The Trails at Saddleback Ranch, and Stevens seconded it. The motion passed unanimously.

Next steps for the project before construction begins are the filing of a preliminary plat with the commission and Town Council, with a final plat going straight to Council, the submission for a condominium plat, improvement plans, staff and engineers review, and the applicants pulling the appropriate permits.

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